Documentary: Odo Ya! Life With AIDS

Before modern medicine, indigenous people around the world took care of themselves with medicine from the earth.  There was always someone in the community with knowledge of herbs who could help heal the sick, and even prevent illness.

During and immediately following slavery, where Africans and their descendants in the diaspora seldom had access to developing medical care in their new surroundings, our root doctors continued to take care of the community. Many people who were not born into Orisha worshiping families often recount their entry into the religion with stories of having fallen ill, and turning to Candomblé because they knew that the knowledge of herbal remedies ran deep.

When the world shook under the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, when the lack of information about the disease caused fear and alienation, many people once again turned to Candomblé for healing – both spiritual and physical.

This rare gem of a documentary, Odô Ya! Life with AIDS, takes us to Bahia to examine AIDS awareness and the role that Candomblé – particularly Obaluaye – plays in helping people cope with the disease. There are also timeless interviews with the late Iyalorisa Beata de Iemanja and Babalorisa Joaquim Motta.  The entire documentary is dubbed in English.